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Peace Symposium – Cape Town 2023: Peacemaking at the Intersection of Culture, Art, and Nature

The "Peace Lantern" (neko ashi yukimi), on the east bank of the Upper Strolling Pond. Photo by Jim Reitz.
The Peace Lantern on the east bank of the Upper Strolling Pond. Photo by Jim Reitz.

Japan Institute is the global cultural initiative of Portland Japanese Garden, created to facilitate and inspire conversations about peace, art, and the human relationship with the natural world.

Peace Symposium – Cape Town 2023: Peacemaking at the Intersection of Culture, Art, and Nature will be held on Thursday, November 30th. This is a free, public symposium exploring the evolving role of art, cultural institutions, and public spaces as a platform for peace-building and community engagement.

Event Details

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Introduction and Opening Remarks
Steve Bloom, CEO, Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden

Congratulatory Address
Masahiro Katamoto, Consul General of Japan in Cape Town

Keynote Speaker
Caryl Stern, Former CEO, UNICEF USA

Panel Speakers
Nick Boraine,
 Associate Artistic Director, Global Arts Corps
Ann Burroughs, CEO, Japanese American National Museum
Marc Lubner, Group CEO, Afrika Tikkun
Khanyisile Mbongwa, Sangoma, Curator, Liverpool Biennial 2023
Lungi Morrison, Director of Institutional Advancement, Zeitz MOCAA
Akihito Nakanishi, Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Art, Culture and Education, Portland Japanese Garden
Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Photographer and Storyteller, VII Photo

Commissioned Poetry Reading
Siphokazi Jonas

Closing Remarks
Justice Albie Sachs

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Speaker Bios

Introduction and Opening Remarks

Steve Bloom | CEO, Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden

Steve Bloom has been the CEO of Portland Japanese Garden since 2005. Beginning early in his tenure, Bloom led the formation of a comprehensive 10-year strategic plan, which has been transformational in its scope and impact. Bloom oversaw the completion of a $37 million expansion of the Garden and its facilities, created a curatorial department, expanded and improved programs in culture, art, and education, established an International Japanese Garden Training Center, formed an International Advisory Board, and has dramatically increased national and international visibility and recognition.


Congratulatory Address

Masahiro Katamoto, Consul General of Japan in Cape Town

Masahiro Katamoto is Consul of Japan in Cape Town. A longtime diplomat, Katamoto entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1986. He has served the Ministry in Tokyo and different offices abroad before taking in his current post in January of 2023. 


Keynote Speaker

Caryl Stern | Chief Impact Officer, LionTree & Former CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Caryl Stern is the Chief Impact Officer at LionTree. Prior to joining LionTree in 2023, she served as the Executive Director of the Walton Family Foundation, and has more than 40 years of experience in the non-profit sector, including over 13 years as CEO of UNICEF USA. She serves on the boards of directors of The Container Store and the We Are Family Foundation, and is a member of the Advisory Board of Chime for Change. Caryl earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art, a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration and completed her PhD coursework in the same field. Stern is the recipient of five honorary Doctoral degrees. 


First Panel Speakers

Ann Burroughs, CEO, Japanese American National Museum

Ann Burroughs is the President and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum. She is an internationally recognized leader in the field of human rights and social justice. She is the past Chair of Amnesty International’s Global Assembly and was formerly the Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA. Burroughs’ life-long commitment to racial and social justice was shaped by her experience as a young activist in her native South Africa where she was jailed as a political prisoner for her opposition to apartheid. For over 25 years, she has worked with leaders, organizations, and networks in the US and abroad to promote diversity, racial justice and a rights-based culture. Burroughs has previously served as Executive Director of the Taproot Foundation and as the Executive Director of LA Works, and has worked as a consultant to the Omidyar Network, the Rockefeller Foundation and the government of South Africa

Marc Lubner, Group CEO, Afrika Tikkun

Marc Lubner, is CEO of Afrika Tikkun, one of South Africa’s leading NGOs. Afrika Tikkun supports the development of over 20,000 children a year from early infancy until the time they find careers and jobs.   

The vision of Afrika Tikkun is to eradicate youth unemployment and child poverty. The organization achieves this using a holistic strategy that starts in early life and concludes with productive adults accessing the economy. Afrika Tikkun delivers a cradle-to-career development training and placement organization for township-based children and youth aged two to 30 years of age.  It serves over 20,000 children and youth working with public, private, and NGO organizations, and collaborates with donors, volunteers, and business investors to develop and upskill the lives of young and aspiring South Africans.  

As a leader who is passionate about service to others, Marc’s daily activities include his responsibilities as CEO of Afrika Tikkun, Executive Chairman of SMILE foundation, Executive Chairman of SAICC (South African Israeli Chamber of Commerce), and advisor of his family’s global investment portfolio.

Lungi Morrison, Director of Institutional Advancement, Zeitz MOCAA

Lungi Morrison is a Pan-African passionate about contributing to thriving cultural creative economies and institutions throughout the Continent and Diaspora. Morrison’s academic qualifications include; a master’s degree in social anthropology (thesis in Indigenous Knowledge Systems or IKS) and sociology from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. She also studied emerging markets and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) economies through an executive development program at Harvard Business School.  

Morrison served as a media research manager with LoveLife, a behavior change intervention campaign established by the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, alongside USAID, PEPFAR, and South Africa’s Medical Research Council.  

By 2013, Morrison was appointed South African Tourism Country Manager in the UK & Ireland where she applied her brand marketing and corporate communications skills to destination branding and nation-building  

Whilst living in Accra Ghana, Morrison co-founded Amba Gallery. Amba gallery was established as a contemporary African gallery with the intent to exhibit, promote and educate diverse audiences about the provenance of African art history and design.  

During the COVID lockdown period, Morrison served as a project manager with Goethe Institute’s Museum Futures Africa initiative. The program was established to unearth (and inform the re-indigenization), test, explore, and study new formats of African museology. Morrison has recently been appointed to join the board of Lalela Project – an initiative that uses art as a tool to enable the holistic development of youth in underserved communities in SA, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.  

Morrison now lives in Cape Town with her sixteen-year-old son. She is also committed to doing her bit to address gender-based violence and environmental sustainability safeguarding the planet and communities for future generations. 

Akihito Nakanishi, Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Art, Culture and Education, Portland Japanese Garden

Akihito (Aki) Nakanishi is a cultural leader and public diplomacy expert with over two decades of experience in government relations, public communication, artistic exchanges, and cultural programming in Japan. For 10 years, Nakanishi served as the Cultural Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, where he oversaw a wide range of embassy involvement in cultural, creative, and educational activities designed to enhance mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan. In addition to being the principal advisor to the Mission’s Cultural Attaché, he also served as a special aide to U.S. Ambassadors charged with direct oversight of some of the Ambassadors’ cultural and education projects, while also running his own non-profit programs for young leaders across Japan. 

Having majored in Economics, European Law, and Business Administration in London, Nakanishi holds a Master of Cultural Policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan, where he has published a research paper on U.S. Cultural Policy in supporting the arts. 


Second Panel Speakers

Nick Boraine, Associate Artistic Director, Global Arts Corps

Nick is a South African actor who graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1994 with an honors degree in drama. Whilst Boraine continues to star in films, television, theatre productions and video games, he also currently holds the position of Associate Artistic Director of the Global Arts Corps, a nonprofit arts NGO. The GAC works in post conflict countries like Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Cambodia and most recently Kosovo, bringing together theatre artists and musicians to create shows that facilitate dialogue amongst young people. He is also an accomplished voice over artist who works in a variety of accents doing commercials, dubbing TV shows and voicing animation. He is also currently completing his MFA at Antioch University (LA Campus) in Creative Writing. Boraine is based in Los Angeles and lives with his wife Louise Barnes and their daughter Scarlett. 

Khanyisile Mbongwa, Sangoma, Curator, Liverpool Biennial 2023

Khanyisile Mbongwa is a Cape Town based independent curator, award-winning artist and sociologist who engages with her curatorial practice as Curing & Care; using the creative to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy and play.  

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, founding member and curator of Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She’s also one of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Mbongwa was a Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Institute of Creative Arts at UCT, where she completed her master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts, public art and public sphere.  

Mbongwa has been a guest lecturer at UCT (University of Cape Town), DUT (Durban University of Technology), University of Zurich, University of Basel and Rhodes University. And has been an adhoc lecturer at Cape Town Creative Academy. In 2023 Mbongwa was invited by the Harvard Center for African Studies as part of their workshop series.  

Mbongwa is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Create Arts, University of Cape Town and is a Blak C.O.R.E (Care of Radical Energy) Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She was the Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020 and is the Curator for the Liverpool Biennial 2023.

Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Photographer and Storyteller, VII Photo

Ilvy Njiokiktjien is a photojournalist, filmmaker, podcast host, and educator who has been creating and sharing stories for almost two decades. She is based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. 
For 12 years, Njiokiktjien chronicled South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation. The result was the project, Born Free – Mandela’s Generation of Hope, which sparked a documentary, an interactive website, a book, feature articles, and a traveling exhibition. In addition to numerous awards from international organizations such as World Press Photo and POYi, Njiokiktjien’s images have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, The Guardian, Stern, Der Spiegel, TIME, and other major outlets. She has exhibited at Visa pour l’Image in France, New York’s Photoville, and museums and festivals around the world.


Commissioned Poetry Reading

Siphokazi Jonas

Siphokazi Jonas is a multi-award-winning poet, playwright, actor, and producer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She holds an MA in English Literature and an undergraduate degree in Drama and English. Her awards include a South African Film and Television Award for Best Short Film, Most Innovative Young Artist Western Cape Cultural Affairs Award, and 100 Sunday World Unsung Heroes. Her most recent stage production, #WeAreDyingHere, was adapted into an award-winning poetry short film screened at numerous international film festivals.   

Siphokazi has attended poetry sessions and festivals worldwide, including conferences and festivals in Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, and Nigeria. Her work is freely available in numerous anthologies and journals. She was the 2016 runner-up for the national Sol Plaatje European Union Award and headlined as the first Featured Poet at Poetry Africa Festival in 2021. 


Closing Remarks

Justice Albie Sachs, South African lawyer, judge, and human rights activist  

Albie Sachs is a distinguished South African lawyer, former South African Constitutional Court Justice, anti-apartheid activist, scholar, and author. Sachs began his practice as an advocate at the Cape Bar when he was 21, and most of his work involved defending people charged under apartheid’s racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many of the people he defended were facing the death sentence. As a result of his work, he was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement, and was placed in solitary confinement for 168 days without trial. He eventually went into exile in 1966. 

He spent eleven years studying and teaching law in England, and a further eleven years in Mozambique working as a law professor and legal researcher. On 7 April 1988, a bomb that was placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents blew up. He lost an arm and the sight of one eye. After recovering from the effects of the bomb blast, he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. Finally, in 1990, he returned home. 

In the 1990’s, Sachs became a member of the National Executive of the ANC and a member of the Constitutional Committee of South Africa. He took part in the negotiations that made South Africa a constitutional democracy and he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to serve in the Constitutional Court. Through his time as judge, he earned the reputation as the conscience of the Court, leading landmark judgments, including one that made South Africa the fifth nation to recognize same-sex marriage and declaring capital punishment a violation of the right to life. 

In addition to his legal work, he has travelled to many countries sharing his experiences in order to help heal divided societies. He has also been engaged in the sphere of art and architecture and was involved with the development of the Constitutional Court building and its art collection. Sachs has also authored several books, including The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (1966), which was published in Britain when he was a banned writer in South Africa. This book was later adapted by David Edgar as an RSC play in 1979, which is now a classic of prison memoirs. Stephanie on Trial followed his second detention, and The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter (1990) traced his triumphant convalescence after the bombing. He also wrote a book with Indres Naidoo, entitled Island in Chains. In 1991 he received the Alan Paton Award for Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter. 


About the Peace Symposia Series

Japan Institute’s Peace Symposia series is the signature event of Japan Institute’s Peace Program. It inspires conversations about peace through the lens of cultural diplomacy by exploring the interplay between and convergence of landscapes, architecture, and arts. Ultimately, Japan Institute will hold six Peace Symposia on six continents – the first was in Tokyo, Japan, and the second was in London, UK. New York was the third, followed by this one in Cape Town, South Africa.

Japan Institute’s peace programming is made possible through Robert and Deborah Zagunis.

See the highlights from Peace Symposium – London 2022

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